HEREFORD

Breed History

The Hereford breed originated as a product of necessity. Efficient, adaptable and hardy, these cattle have always had a face to remember.

Nearly 300 years ago, farmers of Herefordshire, England, founded the breed in response to demand created by Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Efficient production, high yields and sound reproduction were of utmost importance.

Benjamin Tomkins is who to thank for the original design. A primary founder of the breed, Tomkins began in 1742 with a bull calf from the cow Silver and two cows, Pidgeon and Mottle.

Henry Clay, Kentucky statesman, brought Herefords to the United States in 1817. A true Hereford identity was not established in the states until William H. Sotham and Erastus Corning, Albany, N.Y., began the first breeding herd in 1840.

Among other renowned early Hereford breeders were Charles Gudgell and Thomas A. Simpson of Missouri. Their big break came with the importation of Anxiety 4, a bull credited as being the “father of American Herefords.”

A few of these early breeders came together in Chicago on June 22, 1881. The result was the foundation of the American Hereford Cattle Breeders Association, later renamed the American Hereford Association (AHA). Its purpose was two-fold: to keep the breed’s records and to promote the interests of its breeders.

Seven years later Warren Gammon noticed naturally hornless Herefords at the Trans-Mississippi World’s Fair in Omaha, Neb. He decided to fix the hornless trait using the bull Giant and 11 Hereford females. In 1910 the American Polled Hereford Association (APHA) was founded.

The two Hereford associations merged in 1995, keeping the AHA title. The AHA now registers all horned and polled Herefords.

American Hereford Association (2018, August). Hereford Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://hereford.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HerefordHeritageFactsheet.pdf

Breed Associations

Name Type State/Province Country Website
South Carolina Hereford Association State SC United States http://www.schereford.com/
Wisconsin Hereford Association State WI United States http://www.wisconsinherefords.org/
Indiana Hereford Association State IN United States http://www.indianaherefords.org/
Tennessee Hereford Association State TN United States https://www.tnhereford.org/
Mississippi Hereford Association State MS United States http://mississippiherefords.com/
Missouri Hereford Association State MO United States http://moherefords.org/
North Carolina Hereford Association State NC United States http://www.nchereford.org/
Nebraska Hereford Association State NE United States http://www.nebraskaherefords.com/
Texas Hereford Association State TX United States http://www.texashereford.org/
New York Hereford Breeders Association State NY United States http://www.nyhba.com/
American Hereford Association National MO United States https://hereford.org
Iowa Hereford Breeders Assoication State IA United States http://www.iowahereford.org/
Virginia Hereford Association State VA United States http://www.virginiaherefords.org/
Minnesota Hereford Association State MN United States https://www.minnesotaherefordbreeders.com/
Oregon Hereford Breeders Association State OR United States http://www.oregonherefords.com/
Kansas Hereford Association State KS United States http://www.kansashereford.org/
Montana Hereford Association State MT United States http://www.montanahereford.org/
Oklahoma Hereford Association State OK United States https://www.okherefords.com/
South Dakota Hereford Association State SD United States http://www.southdakotaherefords.org/
Michigan Hereford Association State MI United States https://mihereford.com/
Buckeye Hereford Association State OH United States http://www.buckeyeherefords.com/

Breed EPDs

Baldy Maternal Index (BMIDollar)

The Baldy Maternal Index is a maternally focused index that is based on a production system that uses Hereford x Angus cross cows. Progeny of these cows are directed towards Certified Hereford Beef. This index has significant weight on Sustained Cow Fertility, which predicts fertility and longevity of females. There is a slightly positive weight on Weaning Weight, Mature Cow Weight and Milk which accounts for enough growth but ensures females do not increase inputs. There is some negative emphasis on Dry Matter Intake, but a positive weighting on Carcass Weight which is anticipated to provide profitability from finishing of non-replacement females and castrated males. Marbling and Rib-eye Area are also positively weighted to keep the harvested progeny successful for CHB. This index is geared to identify Hereford bulls that will be profitable when used in a rotational cross with mature commercial Angus cows.

Birth Weight (BW)

Difference in birth weights of a bulls progeny when compared to the breed average. Measured in pounds. Birth Weight EPD predicts the difference in average birth weight of a bulls calves compared to calves of another bull. Reported in pounds, a lower number is desirable.

Brahman Influence Index (BIIDollar)

The Brahman Influence Index is a maternally focused index that is based on a production system that uses Brahman x Hereford cross cows. Progeny of these cows are directed towards a commodity beef market since Certified Hereford Beef does not accept Brahman influenced cattle. This index has significant weight on Sustained Cow Fertility, which predicts fertility and longevity of females. There is a slightly positive weight on Weaning Weight, Mature Cow Weight and Milk which accounts for enough growth but ensures females do not increase inputs. There is some negative emphasis on Dry Matter Intake, but a positive weighting on Carcass Weight which is anticipated to provide profitability in finishing non-replacement females and castrated males. Marbling and Rib-eye Area are also positively weighted to keep harvested progeny successful for a variety of commodity based programs. This index targets producers that use Hereford bulls on Brahman influenced cows.

Calving Ease Direct (CED)

Calving Ease Direct is the difference in percentage of unassisted births when a sire is bred to first calf heifers. A higher number is desirable.

Carcass Weight (CW)

Difference in poulds of hot carcass weight, adjusted to an industry standard age endpoint This EPD predicts the difference in hot carcass weight of a bulls progeny compared to progeny of all other bulls evaluated at a given endpoint. Reported in pounds, a higher number is generally desirable. Hot carcass weight is the weight of the animal immediately after slaughter. To calculate how much meat you will receive, use this equation: Live weight x dressing percentage x carcass cutting yield = pounds of meat. 280 x (0.72 x 0.74) = 280 x 53% = 148 pounds of meat.

Certified Hereford Beef Index (CHBDollar)

The Certified Hereford Beef Index is a terminal sire index that is built on a production system where Hereford bulls are mated to mature commercial Angus cows and all progeny will be targeted for Certified Hereford Beef after the finishing phase. This index has significant weight on Carcass Weight to ensure profit on the rail. As well there is a positive weighting for Average Daily Gain along with a negative weighting on Dry Matter Intake to ensure efficient pounds of growth in the finishing phase. Keep in mind, this production system takes advantage of complimentary breeding with the commercial Angus cow. Although Marbling is weighted positively in this index, a positive weighting for Rib-eye Area and a negative weighting for Back Fat are a greater priority in this index to allow for optimum end-product merit. This is the only index that has no emphasis on fertility. Remember that no replacement heifers are being retained.

Dry Matter Intake (DMI)

Dry Matter Intake (DMI), expressed in pounds per day, is a predictor of difference transmitting ability for feed intake during the postweaning phase, compared to that of other sires.

Fat Thickness (FAT)

Fat Thickness EPD (Fat), expressed in inches, is a predictor of the differences in external fat thickness at the 12th rib (as measured between the 12th and 13th ribs) of a sires progeny compared to progeny of other sires.

Marbling (MARB)

A predictor of the difference in a sires progeny for percent marbling score or percent intramuscular fat in the ribeye muscle compared to other sires. This EPD predicts the difference in average USDA marbling score of a bulls progeny compared to progeny of another bull at a similar end point. Reported in degrees of a marbling score, higher values are desirable. In a similar fashion, EPDs generated from ultrasound scan data reflect differences in chemical fat content within the ribeye muscle (intramuscular fat). Research has shown a strong relationship between marbling score and % intramuscular fat. Therefore, selection for higher % intramuscular fat EPDs would be expected to increase marbling scores and associated quality grade in slaughter progeny.

Maternal Milk (MILK)

Maternal Milk EPD (Milk), is a predictor of a sires genetic merit for milk and mothering ability as expressed in his daughters compared to daughters of other sires. In other words, it is that part of a calfs weaning weight attributed to milk and mothering ability.

Mature Cow Weight (MCW)

The MCW EPD was designed to help breeders select sires that will either increase or decrease mature size of cows in the herd. The trait was developed after years of cow weight data collection and the EPD relates directly to the maintenance requirements of a cow herd. An example of how the MCW EPD allows breeders to compare sires: If sire A has a MCW EPD of 100 and sire B has an EPD of 85, then you would expect the females of sire A, if mated to similar cows, to be 15 lb. heavier at mature size.

Ribeye Area (REA)

Differences in ribeye area in inches between the 12th and 13th rib. Greater ribeye areas are preferable. This EPD predicts the difference in ribeye area of a bulls progeny compared to the progeny of another bull and is an indicator of total muscle in the carcass. Reported in square inches, larger numbers are generally desirable.

Scrotal Circumference (SC)

Scrotal Circumference EPD (SC), expressed in centimeters, is a predictor of the difference in transmitting ability for scrotal size compared to that of other sires.

Sustained Cow Fertility (SCF)

Sustained Cow Fertility EPD (SCF) is a prediction of a cow’s ability to continue to calve from three years of age through twelve years of age, given she calved as a two-year-old. The EPD is expressed as a deviation in the proportion of the ten-possible calving’s to twelve years old expressed as a probability. For example, the daughters of a bull with a 30 EPD would have the genetic potential to have one more calf by age twelve then the daughters from a bull with a 20 EPD. In other words, the daughters from the 30 EPD bull would have a 10% greater probability of having one more calf than the bull with a 20 EPD. This is equivalent to saying that the daughters are 10% more likely to remain in the herd to age 12.

Teat Size (TEAT)

Scores range from 9 (very small) to 1 (very large, balloon shaped) and are subjective assessments of the teat length and circumference. Oversized teats are difficult for newborn calves to nurse, and the calf may not receive adequate colostrum. This could lead to a higher incidence of scours or decreased immunity levels in the newborn calf. TEAT EPDs are reported on the scoring scale. Differences in sire EPDs predict the difference expected in the sires’ daughters’ udder characteristics when managed in the same environment. For example, if sire A has a teat size EPD of 0.4, and sire B has a teat size EPD of -0.1, the difference in the values is 0.5, or one-half of a score. If daughters of sires A and B are raised and managed in the same environment, you would expect half a score smaller teat size in daughters of sire A, compared to sire B.

Udder Suspension (UDDR)

Scores range from 9 (very tight) to 1 (very pendulous) and represent assessments of udder support. Weak udder suspension results in pendulous udders that make it difficult for a calf to nurse. Weak suspension in the udder indicates a lack of support in the ligament that ties the udder to the cow’s body wall. Over time, weakness in this ligament will allow the udder to hang down too far from the body and may subject the udder to serious problems and increased potential for injury. UDDR EPDs are reported on the scoring scale. Differences in sire EPDs predict the difference expected in the sires’ daughters’ udder characteristics when managed in the same environment. For example, if sire A has a UDDR EPD of 0.4, and sire B has a UDDR EPD of -0.1, the difference in the values is 0.5, or one-half of a score. If daughters of sires A and B are raised and managed in the same environment, you would expect half a score better udder suspension in daughters of sire A, compared to sire B.

Weaning Weight (WW)

Difference in weaning weight of a bulls progeny when compared to the breed average. Measured in pounds. Weaning Weight EPD predicts the difference in average 205-day weight of a bulls progeny compared to calves of another bull. Reported in pounds, a higher number is desirable.

Yearling Weight (YW)

Difference in yearling weight of a bulls progeny when compared to the breed average. Measured in pounds. Yearling Weight EPD predicts the difference in average 365-day weight of a bulls progeny compared to progeny of another bull. Reported in pounds, a higher number is generally desirable.